Baking Fir Cones

Among the zillions of things I’m doing these days, included is actively getting my mom’s mainland house ready to lease. This has become particularly urgent as acquaintances of mine are very interested in leasing the house, soon. I have become a packing, and high level cleaning (a professional will do the deep cleaning) machine. Yesterday, after our appliance guru laid his hands on the dishwasher, blessed the fridge & microwave, and agreed that the oven needed a good old fashioned oven cleaner kinda cleaning (rather than pollute the house by using the oven’s self cleaning cycle), I removed the oven racks. Next was to see if the bottom element would lift up and slide out, to make cleaning easier. It lifted up, but did not come out. To my surprise, and alarm, there was a large unrecognizable, burnt something under the element. I’m talking small potato sized something, but it was fuzzy looking. With paper towel in hand, I gingerly picked the burnt object up. It was a triplet of small fir cones, burnt 70% of the way through. My mother had been drying fir cones in the oven to use for kindling, and one of them jumped the tray to smolder under the oven’s element. This in an oven that is so full of baked on grease, it is too dirty to use the oven’s own cleaning cycle. Read: Plenty of fuel to start a grease fire.

There are times I wonder if my mom is as far down the dementia path as we think she is, feel horrible about the idea of her never returning to her Island home, feel the depth of her loses to the point I hurt for her, and then something like this turns up… My mama, bless her, isn’t safe on her own. She doesn’t understand that baking fir cones in the oven (clean or dirty) is dangerous. All my doubts vanish.
Time to go wipe out that oven and wait for the crew who is going to remove what’s left of the rat poop infested insulation from under the house. 

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